In preparation for my upcoming honeymoon with my wife, we were planning to go to Hualien, Taiwan, by taking the railway train from Taipei, Taiwan.  Upon preparing for this trip, we looked to see how to purchase the train tickets online.  It turned out that the online system is not overly user friendly, so it took quite some time to figure it all out.  In addition upon googling the search engines to see if there is already advice on how to book tickets online, there seems to be alot of inaccurate or out of date information out there.  Therefore for the sake of ensuring no one else falling prey to the headaches I went thru in figuring this out, I have decided to create a quick guide for you all on how to book the Taiwan train tickets online!                

There are two types of trains you can ride across the country in Taiwan, the normal railway train run by the Taiwan Railways Administration, and the advanced highspeed bullet rail trains.  The guide that I am about to show you is only for the normal railway train run by the Taiwan Railways Administration.

Step 1.)  Go to the Taiwan Railways Administration website:  http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/ and once your there click the link that says “Timetable”

Step 1 screenshot

Step 2.)  After clicking Timetable, it will bring you to another screen that allows you to search the different train schedules

1 – Select the Origin location, selecting the City first, and the Train station the second

2 – Select the End location, selecting the City first, and the Train station the second

3 – Select the Train type

4 – Select the date of travel

5 – Click “Search”

Step 2 screenshot

Step 3.)  After clicking “Search” it will bring you to a screen showing you all the possible trains scheduled to leave from your specified origin to your specified end destination for your search date.  Review the train number you want, and then click the green icon on the right that will take you to the online reservation system.

Step 3 screenshot

Step 4.)  Once your at the online reservation system, it will auto prepopulate the train number, origin and end location, and the departure date.  Make sure you review this to ensure it is what you want.

1 – Enter you passport number.  Please make sure this is filled accurately

2 – Enter the number of passengers travelling.

3 – Click “Start to Order”

Step 4 screenshot

Step 5.)  After you clicked the “Start to Order” button, it will bring you to a random number check screen, which is basically to prevent anyone from writing an automated program to automatically order a whole bunch of tickets in one shot.

1 – Simply enter the number you see on the screen.

2 – Click “Submit”

Step 5 screenshot

Step 6.)  Once you submit, if the booking was successful, then it will state “Booking Successfully”.  If the tickets are no longer available for that particular train, then it will state “No tickets available”.

Please note that there is a section that says “Ticket taking due date” in which it will show a date 2 days later.  This due date is only applicable for people who will be paying in person with cash at the train station in Taiwan.  What this is really saying is that if you will be paying in person with cash at the train station in Taiwan, you must pickup and pay for the ticket at the train station no later than the date stipulated there.   What this online system is actually doing is just reserving your seat in the system, and NOT issuing out any tickets.  It only holds the seat until the ticket has been physically picked up at the train station, else after the due date and the tickets have not been picked up, then the seats go back to inventory again in the system.  If you are intending to pay for it by cash and in person at the train station in Taiwan, then you do not need to go any further in the steps below.  You just print this confirmation screen out, and bring your passport and cash to the train station to redeem your train ticket.

However if you intend to pay online by credit card, then you can ignore that “Ticket taking due date” and just click the “online payment” button instead.  Paying by credit card makes more sense for overseas visitors who haven’t even arrived yet in Taiwan, but would like to reserve their tickets in advanced.  Please make sure you take down the booking code and passport number you used, as this will be needed for the next following steps to complete the transaction when paying online by credit card.

Step 6 screenshot

Step 7.)  After you click the “Online Payment” button, it will launch you to another website to begin the credit card payments.

1 – Click on the “English” button for the English version of the website

2 – Check mark to agree to the terms and conditions

3 – Click “Start Buying Ticket” to beging the credit card purchase

4 – There is a whole bunch of guidelines listed below, which is recommended to read

Step 7 screenshot

Step 8.)  The next screen will prompt you to select either one way ticket or round trip ticket and to enter your booking code and passport number you took down on Step 6 above.

Please take note on the disclaimer (marked in the screenshot with ***), not all tickets you can purchase round trip, therefore for simplicity sake, just book 2 one way tickets instead (one going to your destination, and the other coming back from your destination).  You can show these two bookings to the train station counter, along with your passport and credit card, and they can help convert it to a round trip ticket and refund you any difference in price (since round trip tickets maybe cheaper than buying 2 one day tickets).  Please note that the departure station and the destination station for the outbound and return bound trips should be the same, if you want to convert them to round trip tickets at the train station counter (i.e. if your going from Taipei main station to Hualien station, you must leave from Hualien station, and arrive back to Taipei main station on your return trip back).

1 – Select “one way ticket”

2 – Select “check if you are a foreigner” (i.e. you are not a Taiwan citizen)

3 – Enter your passport number under the ID field

4 – Enter you booking code that you took down from Step 6 above

5 – Click “Submit”

Step 8 screenshot

Step 9.)  The next screen will ask you to confirm if the booking is correct before you officially begin to enter your credit card information to pay.  Please ensure you check everything there thoroughly to ensure everything is correct.

1 – Enter the total number of senior, disabled, adult and/or child tickets needed

2 – Click “Confirm”

Step 9 screenshot

Step 10.)  The next screen will provide you the cost of the ticket being purchased, and will ask for your credit card details

1 – Fill in your credit card details

2 – Select “No” under “Apply for a subsidy using the National Travel Card” section

3 – Click “Confirm payment”, and the system will start processing the payment

Step 10 screenshot

Step 11.)  The next screen will provide you a confirmation that the purchase was successful.  Please note that the below screenshots was a live order that I personally ordered for myself (the ticket information is different than the mock example I created from the screenshots in the steps above), this is just to illustrate to you all what this confirmation screen looks like.

1 – Click on “Print the Ticket Pick Up Form for credit card payment”

2 – After you print out the ticket pick up form, click “complete ticket purchase”

Step 11 screenshot

Step 12.)  Fill out the printed Ticket Pick Up Form.  Please note that although you did pay online and secured your seat on the train online, you will still need to go to the train station to pick up your tickets.  However, you will have more flexibility as you have until 30 minutes before the schedule train departure time to pickup your ticket.  You will need to provide your passport, and the filled out Ticket Pick Up Form when picking up your ticket at the train station counter.

Step 12 screenshot

Step 13.)  To purchase your return one way ticket, just follow steps 1 to 12 again.

I sure hope these 13 steps help you all out and save you all the time and confusion in figuring this system out!  Please note this is only accurate at the time of writing, so if there are any changes that are found in the system that I am not aware about, please do not hesitate to notify me, and I will reupdate this post accordingly!

Have you experienced other strange, not so user friendly systems from other places abroad when purchasing tickets for any type of transportation?  Please share your experiences in the comments below!  Cheers!

Get more local insider information just like this right here!

Don’t get caught up in confusion by trying to research all this by yourself…as you can see even things like booking train tickets online can get quite complicated!   Read our exclusive travel guide that contains all the local insider information (just like what you saw in this post) to Taipei so that you can plan your trip easier, and most importantly to be able to have a fun and enjoyable trip.

Find out all the important things you need to know before your upcoming trip to Taipei City so you are well prepared.

Click here to find out what every traveler should know before visiting Taipei City.

 

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of AlecTravelGuide.com

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103 Responses to How to Book Railway Train Tickets in Taiwan

  1. iamthewitch says:

    My oh my, the ticket booking system certainly doesn’t look very easy at all. So many steps to follow! Thank goodness you’re kind enough to write a guide on this or we will all be confused :) Great job!

  2. ivan says:

    Wow very detail info thank you, waiting your review about taiwan. I’ll be in taiwan on Dec’2011

    • Alec says:

      Hi Ivan;

      Thanks for the kind feedback! Taiwan is such an awesome place to visit! Sadly to say I will be leaving Taiwan in the next 2 days…so next week I will start to update my blog with my reviews once I’m back home… I have loads of information to share! So stay tuned… Cheers! Alec

  3. […] is only one railway route that links the two cities.  It is the railway route operated by the Taiwan Railways Administration that connects from Taipei Main Station all the way to Hualien Train Station.  It is quite a scenic […]

  4. David says:

    Great site – very useful for our upcoming trip.

    We tried today to book some tickets in March but we are too far in advance. Do you know if there is a set time period when the tickets go on sale? (e.g. 2 weeks before departure date)

    Thanks a lot for this guide!!

    • Alec says:

      Hi David

      Thanks for your feedback! Yes there is a set time period when the tickets go on sale. You can only buy tickets online 2 weeks in advanced from your intended departure date. Tickets go on sale right on the dot at 12 midnight (Taiwan time), and from my experience you got to book quick, else the good timings will get snatched up quickly!

      Happy traveling!

      Alec

  5. elt222 says:

    Hi,

    Payment — I plan to use credit card to pay for the tickets. After successfully booking the train tickets online, is there a deadline for completing credit card payment? The “2-day” deadline stated at the bottom of the booking confirmation screen is only applicable for people who intend to pay cash at the train station ticketing counter. So, what about the deadline for online credit card payment? Must pay within 5 days? 7 days? 10 days?

    Seat selection — For trains going from Taipei to Hualien, seats on the left hand side are the ones which can see beautiful sceneries, right? If i book train tickets online, the system will not allow me to select seats, right? The only way to get the seat that i prefer is to buy tickets at the train station counter, is that correct?
    (We are going to Hualien on Apr 11th. We will arrive at Taipei on Apr 7th. Not sure whether April is peak season or not and whether is it too risky to wait until Apr 7th to buy train tickets for Apr 11th. What would be your advice for us?)

    • Alec says:

      Hi thanks for the your comments

      Good questions…

      Payment – after you reserved your tickets it is recommended to click on the pay online button right away (step 6 in the guide above). If you have not done so yet it means you have not paid … So what will happen is that after that due date if it notices that you have not paid in person or online then it will auto forfeit the reservation you made…so it’s best to pay online right away.

      Seats – Well both sides have scenery… If you’re traveling towards hualien on the left you will see the country side plus the ocean (you will only see the ocean towards the end of the journey). On the right you will see mountains and also country side. If you book online I believe it auto assigns the seat… If you want to select a specific seat I think there are two things you can try:
      – call them up after you made your booking to see if you can change seats
      – or when your are there in person to pick up your tickets to ask if they can adjust the seats (please note step 12 above…even if you paid online still need to pick up the tickets)

      You can book tickets online in advanced up to two weeks from your intended departure to hualien… It is recommended to buy your tickets online exactly 2 weeks before as tickets will be snatched up fast! I bought mine 13 days before my intended travel date and already then the good timings to hualien were already fully booked!

      Sorry for the long reply…. 😉 Hope this helps, happy traveling!

  6. elt222 says:

    Thanks, Alec! Yes, i am aware that we need to pick up the tickets at the train station counter.

    As for the seats, i guess we’ll have to go by our luck then. Not worth risking tickets fully booked if we wait until we arrive at Taiwan to buy the tickets.

    Thanks again for all your advice ah….! =)

    • Alec says:

      Great…no problem, any time…glad that you find my info to be helpful!

      Hope you have a great time in Taiwan! It’s an awesome place to visit.

      Cheers!

  7. Holidaydreamin says:

    Hi Alec,

    Great website & very detailed description! Thanks for sharing! Would like to check with you :
    – Is the Tze-Chiang Limited Express (with the Mountain icon) the Taroke Express train?
    – Other than the journey time difference between the Tze-Chiang Limited Express and Tze-Chiang Limited Express, is there difference in train seats (eg. Bigger, more spacious and comfortable) ?
    – In terms of scenary wise, which train goes by more scenic route, the Taroke Express train or the Tze Chiang Limited Express train?
    – Is there any sign in the train which shows the next train stop? There will be announcement in English for each train stop?
    – The Taroke Express train is newer than Tze Chiang Limited Express?
    – If I need to make changes to the departure timing for the trip from Hualien to Taipei, is it allowed?

    Thanks!

    • Alec says:

      Hi Thanks for dropping by!

      Here’s what I found based on my experience:

      I don’t think the Tze-Chiang Limited Express is the Toroko Express. When I went, I took the Tze-Chiang Limited Express from Taipei to Hualien. And when I took the return trip back from Hualien to Taipei I took the Toroko Express.

      In terms of seats, definitely the Toroko Express is a newer train. But all in all both types of trains were clean and comfortable. You can check out the report I made on the train ride experience here:
      http://www.alectravelguide.com/2011/12/23/scenic-railway-ride-from-taipei-to-hualien-taiwan/

      I think as long as you take the train that takes about 3 hours or so, then you will pass through the same route. When I went both the Tze-Chiang Limited Express and Toroko Express seemed to have gone thru exactly the same route (to and from).

      There is a digital signboard telling you the next stop (it shows the info in English and Chinese). There is also an announcement that will be made both in English and Chinese when the train is stopping at the next train stop.

      In terms of changing the timings, that one I would suggest you to call up them up to see if you can change the timings.

      One big advice is that from my experience you won’t really have much opportunity to be choosy on the type of train.

      If you see a train heading to Hualien or (back to Taipei) that is available, that has a good departure timing, and the total duration of the trip is not very long (fastest should be around 3 hours or so from Taipei to Hualien), then just book it.

      Reason I say this is that tickets do get snatched up very quickly online. So if you snooze…you lose…and that’s kind of what happened to me when I went.

      Hope this helps!!! and have a great time in Hualien and Taipei..its awesome!

      Do check back time to time to my blog for updates, as still have a flurry of posts queued up about Taipei!

      Cheers!

  8. Nat says:

    Hi there,

    I have heard that interest will be charged to your credit card from the day you purchase your train tickets until the day you pick that up, is that so?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Much thanks Alec!

    • Alec says:

      Hi Nat;

      That is not true. They will only charge your credit card based on the amount from the transaction you did online. When I bought my tickets there was never interest charged to my card.

      Hope this helps.

      Alec

  9. Carolyn says:

    Hi Alec

    Thanks a lot for this great tip and directions. Appreciate it.

    May I check if there is a section online that indicate children tickets? I will be travelling with three children, age 6, 8 years old and a toddler who is just 22 months old. Would I need to pay for my toddler as I do not see any age or height indications etc for children.

    How come I dun seem to see the Toroko Express when I go online? Only see the Tze-Chiang Limited Express. We are looking at going to Hualien.

    And also, how come some trains have their routes as a dash “-“? No sceanries? Hill or sea view both good?

    thanks.

    carolyn

  10. ling says:

    if only TRA is as specifically detailed as alec ….questions that i can’t find answers from TRA i found them all from your blog! totally eased my mind now that i know i do not have to desperately check their timetable every week to book ticket for dec 2012 travel – as it’s only possible 2 weeks prior to travel date. THANKS alec . cheers!

    • Alec says:

      Hi Ling;

      haha…thanks for the praise.

      It was definitely frustrating when I first tried to book the tickets online with TRA, so thats why I decided to create this blog post to help others out!…glad that this guide is helping! =)

      Cheers

      Alec

  11. michelle says:

    hi there,

    I hv some questions about Step 12 that I hope you can answer for me.
    It says I have to fill up the Ticket Pick-up Form but what do I fill in for ID No, used for booking? Is that my passport number?

    Appreciate if you could reply. THanks ^^

    • Alec says:

      Hi Michelle;

      Thats correct, it is your passport number or whatever ID number of your travel document that you used for booking.

      You will need to show this printed form along with your passport when you pick up your tickets at the train station counter at least 30 mins before the departure time.

      Happy traveling!

      Alec

  12. YPL says:

    Hi Alec,

    Just wanted to thanks for the useful guides. :)

    Have nice day!
    YPL

  13. Jiaaa says:

    Hi Alec!

    Thanks for the very useful tips!!
    Quick question, I will be traveling to taipei frm hualien..
    Do I take the one that says hualien–> Shulin?

    Thank you for taking time to reply.
    Greatly appreciate!

    • Alec says:

      HI Jiaaa;

      That one I’m not too sure. Did you select Start Destination = Taipei, and End Destination = Hualien in the train booking website? If so, then whatever comes up in the website should head in that direction. If you are still not sure, then the best is to call up or email the TRA directly as sometimes I find the website is confusing.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers =)

      Alec

  14. Tiffany says:

    How do I figure out the price of the ticket before buying?

    • Alec says:

      HI Tiffany;

      Unfortunately if you are booking online, you will not know the price until you go to step 10 from my instructions listed above. It is kind of frustrating I know, to not be able to find out the price before hand on this online system! But that’s the way it is with this online system from them. =(

      The only way I can think of to find out the price before hand is to actually call up or email TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration) to find out directly.

      Hope this helps

      Alec

  15. Lizzie says:

    Hi Alec, thanks for useful tips. I figure I could have been a tad too late in booking tickets online to hualien fm taipei. going to hualien on 10 Oct. looks like all reasonably travel time fully booked. Only evening trains avl.

    Would you know what will the chances be of getting tickets at the train station itself one day before departure? Or are there cabs that’s will take 4 pax to hualien fm taipei as a last resort? What would the estimated cost b like? Thanks for the advice

    Regards

    • Alec says:

      HI Lizzie;

      I heard that you can get tickets on the train station itself…however it may not be the best of seats. You can try calling the train station to see if there are any tickets available right now and book over the phone instead. Sometimes people cancel their spots on the train before it gets updated in the online booking system.

      I think getting a cab to Hualien is not too practical, from what I understand there is a huge mountain range separating Taipei and Hualien making driving very difficult. A good alternate way is maybe to fly to Hualien from Taipei on some of the domestic flights available.

      Hope this helps.

      Alec

  16. Tom says:

    Thank you for the detailed guide, Alec. Would you know if the system will automatically allocate 2 adjacent seats to you if you are buying 2 tickets?

    • Alec says:

      HI Tom;

      I think it will allocated 2 adjacent seats…at least thats what it did for me. To make sure, I think when you are at the counter to pick up the tickets, you can ask the counter person to ensure it is 2 adjacent seats.

      Alec

  17. jiayi says:

    Hi Alec,

    Stumbled across your page while looking for transport options to Hualien.
    I note that you were assigned seats 34, 36 in your booking for 2 tickets.
    Were these 2 adjacent seats (ie all even numbers on one side of the train and odd numbers on the other).
    I’ve been assigned seats 17,19 when ive booked 2 tickets.
    (its abit odd if theres a stranger sitting smack between the 2 of us!)

  18. Aleen says:

    Hi Alec,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tips and step by step guide. I will be going to Taiwan next month and need your kind advise on some queries. I need to book the train tickets departing on 5 Jan 13 from Taipei to Hualien. Thereafter, departing Hualien on 9 Jan 13 back to Taipei.

    1) Is it easier to book 2 single trips than 1 round trip?

    2) If I decide to book 2 single trips, will I be able to collect both tickets together at Taipei on 05 Jan 13? Or do I collect them individually at Taipei & Hualien respectively?

    3) Understand that we can book the tickets 2 weeks in advance. As such, I should be able to book the single trip tickets on 21 Dec 12 @ 00:00 and 25 Dec 12 @ 00:00, I supposed?

    Thank you once again for your kind help! Appreciate lots!

    Best

    • Alec says:

      HI Aleen;

      Sorry for the late reply. I was out for the holidays.

      To answer your questions:

      1) Is it easier to book 2 single trips than 1 round trip?
      I found it was easier to book 2 single trips instead of 1 round trip.

      2) If I decide to book 2 single trips, will I be able to collect both tickets together at Taipei on 05 Jan 13? Or do I collect them individually at Taipei & Hualien respectively?
      You can collect them together at Taipei

      3) Understand that we can book the tickets 2 weeks in advance. As such, I should be able to book the single trip tickets on 21 Dec 12 @ 00:00 and 25 Dec 12 @ 00:00, I supposed?
      You should be able to book both on 21 Dec @00:00.

      Happy holidays!

      Alec

  19. Jessica says:

    Hi Alec,

    I’m going to Hualien from Taipei on 22 Jan 2013 and THANK GOD i found your website! Very informative indeed! You are very very generous to share this step by step guide.

    I am planning to buy the train tickets online. I just checked online and I can’t book the tickets yet as the latest booking date is up to 16 Jan 2013.

    Me and hubby will leave Taipei to Hualien on 22 Jan 2013 and back to Taipei on 23 Jan 2013. When I book the tickets online, should I book for 2 persons return trip tickets or book the tickets as single trip one at a time? Meaning I need to purchase departure tickets from Taipei for 2 persons & pay online and then purchase departure tickets from Hualien for 2 persons and & pay online?

    Sounds quite confusing, hehe..
    Thanks for your help!

    • Alec says:

      HI Jessica

      Thanks and glad you find my site useful!

      Yeah my recommendation is to book the tickets as a single trip at a time. Meaning you book a single ticket from Taipei to Hualien. And a single ticket back from Hualien to Taipei.

      That’s how I did it when I booked my ticket, as I couldn’t figure out how to book round trip on their website…it was just too complicated. So to simplify things, i just booked single ticket one at a time as described above.

      Happy Traveling!

      Alec

  20. Jessica says:

    Hi Alec,

    Thanks a lot! Will follow your advise!

  21. Arthur says:

    Hi Alec,

    Great website & very detailed description!
    I am Arthur from Errantry Lodge & Studio(Taiwan’s B&B)
    I hope to use the information on your website that international tourists can use the information to travel around Hualien

    Hope to hear good news~

  22. […] deepblue_82 wrote: u going from tms to hualien?? me too.. then go back from taichung to tpe.. share how u book ah.. coz i nv book tra b4.. Check this website out. Minor differences here and there but it is still very useful…used it as a guide to purchase tickets for my recent trip. How to book TRA tickets in Taiwan […]

  23. Lin says:

    Your website is great and very helpful. Do you know whether I could purchase senior train ticket online? I heard they are half price. How about child fare? Thank you so much.

  24. colyn says:

    Hi,
    if i am going to Ruifang, do you think there will be ticket available if i go 1 or 2 days earlier to the station and buy the ticket? As i see over here, most ppl are going Hualien.

  25. Debbie says:

    Hi! thanks for your detailed steps on how to book:) It’s super helpful since I’m doing this for the first time. I do have a question though… I am travelling from Taipei to Hualien in May, and I checked the train schedule but there are few trains traveling from Taipei train station to Hualien train station.

    However, there are many trains traveling from Shulin to Hualien. I’ve checked and Shulin is located in Taipei city. I noticed that in your website, for step 3 you chose the train departing Shulin station to Hualien station but in step 4 you chose the train station number as “100-Taipei”. I’m just a little confused — because I did see a station for Shulin “103-Shulin” in the drop-down box of the TRA website.

    I’m just a little worried that I may make a wrong booking if I choose the wrong one. Please advise:) thanks!!

    • Alec says:

      Hi Debbie;

      Thanks for visiting my site and glad you are finding the information helpful.

      To clarify, in step 3, it is merely selecting the train route, meaning to say this particular route starts from Shulin station and ends at Hualien.

      In step 4, it is where you actually select the exact train station from that route you want to board the train at. So I selected 100-Taipei which represents the Taipei Main Station right in the middle of Taipei city. Theoretically you can choose to board at Shulin Station, you are right in the sense its in Taipei, but its in the outskirts of Taipei which is kind of far. Therefore I recommend boarding at Taipei Main Station instead, as it will be more accessible and in a more convenient location.

      Hope this clarifies things for ya!

      Cheers

      Alec

  26. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the detailed and informative write up on how to buy tickets, its proved most useful.

    A note for future uses is that I discovered a quirk with the system, I logged onto the booking system to book a ticket from Yuli to Fangliao, this was approximately 20 minutes after the tickets became available on the system and all ticket were apparently sold out already for the train, this would be just after midnight local time.
    Thinking there something fishy was going on I tired a ticket from Yuil to Kaoshiung which is the end terminal station on exactly the same train number and there where tickets available.

    I’m guessing the booking system wants to prioritize routes too and from a terminal station to maximize returns and bums on seats. So if your desired train is booked out check the train number and see if you are traveling from or too a terminal station, if not and the system is “booked out” try changing your end or start point to a terminal station and hopefully a ticket is available.

  27. Catherine says:

    Hi Alec,

    How i Wish I know you earlier before I book my train ticket.

    I just booked my ticket from taipei to hualian on 12/5/2013, I have successfully paid it online. Unfortunately on step 11, I didn’t click on the button to print out the pick up form, instead I click on the bottom button which is complete the credit card payment.
    Do u think if I show them my payment details, my passport number and the booking code, can i get a form from taipei train station? I m so worry ….

    Hope to hear from u soon .

  28. LH Goh says:

    Dear Alec,
    Your explanation about booking the train tickets is the most useful I have found. I hope it is currently relevant. I was on the verge of giving up and try my luck at on the spot ticket purchase when I arrive in Taipei. Thanks very much.
    On another matter, would you have any opinion about Yilan? DO you think it is worth a night stopover on the return trip from Hualien?
    Thanks!

  29. Sam Davamoni says:

    Hi Alec,

    Great guide for On Line Train Ticket Booking for Taiwan Travel. Great work. My wife and I are leaving for Taipei on 28/10/2013 and take a train from Taipei to Taichung for onward journey to Sun Moon Lake. We have not decided on the type of train to take. What will you recommend. We will use your comprehensive guide to book our tickets on line.

    How do we get from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake. Combination of bus and train or a direct bus or train. We enjoy the scenic route. Your advise will be greatly appreciated.

    You are doing a great service for travellers like me who are on a Free and Easy Mode.

    Thank you and looking forward to your response.

    Cheers,
    Sam Davamoni

    • Alec says:

      Hi Sam;

      Thanks and glad you are enjoying my blog.

      It doesn’t really matter what type of train you take…they are pretty all okay. Just make sure you book well in advance as sometimes the tickets sell out fast!

      From what I researched, in order to get from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake, there is no train. Therefore there is only a bus you can take from Taichung main station. Alternatively you can also hire a private driver or taxi, which may give you some more time flexibility. Unfortunately I haven’t been to Sun Moon Lake yet, so I can’t recommend if there are any good drivers out there you can book.

      Hope you have a great trip ahead!

      Cheers!

      Alec

  30. Sam Davamoni says:

    Thank you very much for your advise and we will book our tickets early to avoid disappointment. We will catch a bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake.

    Thank you once again and keep up your good work.

    Cheers,
    Sam

  31. Sam Davamoni says:

    Hi Alec,

    Just another question, my wife and I are Australian Seniors, do we qualify for Seniors’ Concession as per Step 9 of your Guidelines. I am 74 and my wife is 64.

    Thank you.
    Sam

  32. Sam Davamoni says:

    Hi Alec,

    Reference Step 9 of your train ticket booking procedure, do Australian Seniors qualify for travel concession. Some countries recognise Foreign Seniors and extend them the same concessions extended to the Local Seniors.
    Thank you.
    Sam

    • Alec says:

      HI Sam;

      For the TRA trains in Taiwan, Foreign Seniors do not qualify for the Senior’s ticket rate.

      Only citizens of Taiwan can get that senior’s rate. So for you and your wife you will need to book the regular adult ticket fare.

      Hope this helps

      Alec

  33. Sam Davamoni says:

    Hi Alec,

    Thak you for the clarification and much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Sam

  34. Wendy says:

    Hi Alec

    thank you very much for sharing. we are travelling to hualien on 8/11 and back to juifen on 10/11. however correct me if i am wrong i saw a condition in the website saying the route has to be same for the departure and return. Meaning if i travel from taipei on 8/11 to hualien, i will have to buy a return ticket from hualien to taipei on the 10/11 instead of from hualien to jiufen.

    need you advise urgently, thanks

    • Alec says:

      HI Wendy;

      I think that is only true if you are buying round trip tickets. The instructions in my blog posts were only for 1 way tickets, so I believe it should be okay.

      You can also call the TRA directly just to confirm to make sure. But I believe since you are buying 1 way tickets there should be no issue.

      Cheers.

      Alec

  35. Ash says:

    You should update your guide mate. You can no longer click on the payment at Step 2 as there is no longer a shopping cart symbol on the right hand side. That means i had to go back and try to order on the previous webpage and then you can only book a train maximum two weeks in advance

  36. Shirley says:

    Hi Alec,

    many thanks to you for putting up a guide on this. was way easier for me trying to book a ticket from Taipei to Ruifang. Hoping my trip this time will be better than the last, the last time we booked directly from the main station we had to stand all the way from the main station to ruifang and back. ): Thanks so much again!

  37. Matt Smart says:

    Hi Alec,

    I’m in search of some information regarding the around the island ticket. I have seen in a few forums etc that is/was possible to travel by standard train anti-clockwise from Taipei to Hualien (roughly 10hrs). Any help or direction would be amazing – great blog! Cheers, M

    • Alec says:

      HI Matt,

      Thanks for the compliments!

      Yes I think there is a way to travel around the island. If you go to the official Taiwan tourism site: http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0002039 this will describe all the possible train lines that cross the islands. If you read further it also talks about the round the island ticket. I recommend you to contact the folks at the Taiwan tourism office to give you the most accurate information on the current tickets available. What I noticed with Taiwan is that the information changes very fast from what is really happening to what you read online.

      Hope this helps!

      Alec

  38. Debs says:

    Hi Alec,

    I just booked my tickets but totally forgot about step 10(2) “click to complete purchase by credit card” as I assumed it was successful since that’s what the notification on top said. Can I ask what happens after that page and if that step is crucial?

    • Alec says:

      Hi Debs;

      I think what that means is that you did not reserve your tickets. I believe if you didn’t pay, there is a time limit on how long you can hold those tickets for.

      So I think you may need to redo the steps again and purchase by credit card.

      If in doubt you can try to contact the folks at the Taiwan Railway to confirm if this is the case.

      Hope this helps

      Alec

  39. tom aerts says:

    Alec,
    first great website u have here,just to make sure if I book the ticket 14 days before going to Taroko online,paying by creditcard,and only arriving 11 days later in Taiwan=3 days before going to Taroko,is that ok to pick up the tickets at that time ?I also heard bout the combo bus-train ticket…what u think of that one?

    • Alec says:

      Hi Tom;

      Glad you enjoy my site. Thanks for the kind words =)

      I believe paid tickets can be collected at the train station any time during business hours up til 30 minutes before your train’s departure time, so I think it should be okay for you.

      Unfortunately in terms of the bus-train combo ticket, never tried that before so I can’t really give you a good assessment on that.

      Hope this helps…happy traveling in Taiwan!

      Alec

  40. […] if you haven collect and pay in person or perform the online payment. If unsure, can read this.. http://www.alectravelguide.com/2011/…ets-in-taiwan/ Last edited by Gixxerfied; Today at 04:30 […]

  41. Glen says:

    Legend! Thanks for your help with this mate, I was entirely lost otherwise :)

  42. yanni says:

    Hi Alec,

    If only I had read ur review before my ticket booking.. Now I have a problem which I am worried about.

    I had booked my ticket from hualian to Taipei and had Successfully paid via credit card. Unfortunately on step 11, I didn’t click on the button to print out the pick up form as I did not have a printer with me when I purchased the tickets.
    Do u think if I show them my passport number and the booking code, Would i be able to get the tickets?

    What is your suggestion?

    Hope to hear from u soon .

    Thank you.

    • Alec says:

      Hi Yanni;

      If I remember correctly I believe at the counter there, they should also have forms there for you to fill out. The important thing is that you still remember the booking code, and also the passport number or ID that you used for the booking.

      If in doubt you can also call the Taiwan Railway Administration for their advice:

      Their contact info is here:

      http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/contact.aspx

      010~2014Taiwan Railways Administration, MOTC. All Rights Reserved.
      ADD: No.3, Beiping W. Rd., Jhongjheng District, Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.)(Zip Code10041)
      TEL: 886-2-2381-5226
      Customer Service (General Service and Traveler Redress) 0800-765-888 (Local phone only) 02-21910096

      Hope this helps you.

      Regards

      Alec

  43. birgitta says:

    Hi We are going to travel Taiwan with the Travel pass. What about the reserved seats?
    I was told I need to go to check-in at each railway station to get them?
    How does that work?
    Thank you very much
    Birgitta

    • Alec says:

      Hi Birgitta;

      Yes you will need to check in at the railway station to get them if you book your railway tickets online as per the instructions above.
      But what Travel pass are you referring to?

      Alec

  44. Shermaine Ng says:

    Noob question, noticed that all the trains are either from Shulin to Hualien or Douliu to Hualien. I don’t have to back track all the way to Shuline or Douliu to take the train right? I can just hop on at the Taipei Main Station? Rmb vaguely that I saw some website saying that but can’t seem to find back the website that says that.

    Am going on the 23 July, would be a great help if you can help me clarify this. Thanks a bundle!! ^^

    • Chee Chuan says:

      Hi Shermaine,

      Yes, that is right, you can take the train to HuaLien at TaiPei Train Station.
      The “Origin – Dest” column in the Taiwan Railways Administration’s timetable is actually showing the first and last stations of every route that passes through HuaLien Station.
      When you search routes available from Taipei to HuaLien in the website http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/English/e_index.aspx, you can refer to the columns “Taipei Departure” and “Hualien Arrival” for the estimated departure time from Taipei and arrival time at Hualien.

      Hope it helps to answer your doubt, have a great and happy trip :)

      Chee Chuan

  45. Jim Tan says:

    Dear Alec

    Many Many thanks for this very helpful guide in purchasing the tickets! By the way is there any way to check that the tickets are ok or confirmed after payment has been done?

    Regards
    Jim

  46. Jennifer says:

    Hi Alec!

    Thanks so much for your detailed guide! My family is planning a 2 nights stay in Hualien in Dec 2014. Have to buy the online train tickets TONIGHT!!! but i noticed you probably went for a day trip to hualien as you were able to buy the return trip on the same booking day. It would be different for me? Is it possible to buy the return tickets at the same time tonight or would i have to repeat the harrowing experience again, in a couple nights’ time! Arggggghhh.

    Also, can you just verify again- it is easier to just buy one way tickets either way, then go to the train station (taipei) on the departure date (for us, 23/12) and show them that we have one way tickets back from hualien on 25/12? They will refund us the difference then in cash?

    Last query, i am planning to book the 8.20am train to hualien which will be there around 11.30am, thereafter we will meet our guide to go for a day trip in taroko gorge. Is that a good timing? I am afraid that by reaching hualien near noon, there will be a disadvantage on the tour, considering that it is winter, day may turn dark sooner? So, should we sacrifice sleep time and take the earlier train at 7am plus? Your opinion will be most appreciated.

    Much thanks! Ihope you read this, considering that it has been a while since this post was written. THanks again!

    • Alec says:

      Hi Jennifer;

      sorry for the late reply, was out of the country doing some travel research on some other Asian destination… and just saw this.

      to answer your questions:

      You can probably buy the train ticket right at the train counter in Hualien back to Taipei. Thats what I did. Since Hualien is a small town, there’s probably not going to be a lot of people going back to Taipei at once, also there would be many different trains heading back. But if you are going to do it online, you will need to do that same process all again.

      for me i just purchased one way tickets. I believe you can get a refund at the counter…haven’t tried before, but thats what I heard before after my trip that time so can’t really confirm that.

      It will get dark around 5pm. I would recommend you to go strait to taroko gorge and only check in at your hotel after your day trip to save time. It will be tight. That’s what happend for me, I arrived around lunch time, and straight away we went to Toroko gorge…it got dark very fast around 5pm to 6pm.

      if you can get there earlier…it would be great.

      hope this helps! and hope you have a great trip to Taiwan!

      Alec

  47. Xueqi says:

    Hi Alec,

    Would it be possible to collect the tickets much earlier?

    For eg if i am travelling the next day and i collect my tickets 1 day earlier..

  48. Gary says:

    Hello there.
    Any Ideas about the Rumoured but yet to be found ‘Round the Island’ (seven stops) Train ticket Please….Have absolutely No joy with the Taiwan Rail administration….even the numerous attempts to contact them on their so called ‘Contact’ us page…keeps announcing some kind of Failure.

    Desperate as my Holiday hotel stay needs to be planned urgently as I have the Flight tickets already.
    Plus why are they stuck on only being able to purchase two months in advance ???

    Thank you Again. Gary

  49. James says:

    Wow, great guide, though it looks like they’ve radically updated their website since.

    We’re having trouble with the ID field as we’re unable to enter our full passport numbers without the system blocking our progress by asking for two letters at the beginning of the ID string…

    We’re trying to add ‘GB’ for Great Britain, but it’s not allowing the digits. Any tips?

    • Alec says:

      Hi James

      You are right, they have updated radically their site. Looks like I will need to interview them again to see what’s new with the new booking site

      As for your particular inquiry, it should work. The main thing is that the string cannot contain any hyphens, it can only contain purely alphabets or numerals.

      If you are still getting some issues, you can try calling them:

      Problems with the ticket booking system.
      TEL: 0800-080-412
      Online Payment System Problems
      TEL: 02-27699031

      Please note you will need to put in the Taiwan country code in front of the phone number: +886

      Hope this helps

      Alec

  50. huihui says:

    Hi, will it be alright if I didn’t print “Ticket Pick-up Form for Online Credit Card Payment”? Thanks!

    • Alec says:

      HI Hui Hui

      It should be fine, you can fill out another form at the pick up counter. Just make sure you bring your passport and have a copy of the confirmation page printed out after you paid online. They still need some proof somewhere that you did pay online.

      Regards

      Alec

  51. […] need to search A) Taipei Main Station to Ruifang and B) Ruifang to Pingxi. Refer to this informative guide if you need help with the […]

  52. Henry says:

    Hi Alec,

    I’ve booked TRA tickets for consecutive days for me and my girlfriend as we are traveling around the island. Do you know if it’s possible to pick up all the tickets at the first station we get to? Or can we only pick up tickets for leaving the station we are in? Thanks!

    -Henry

    • Alec Chan says:

      HI Henry;

      Can’t really remember this part..but I believe you can pick up all your tickets at the same counter…worst comes to worst they will just tell you to pick up at the individual train stations instead.

      Hope this helps!

      Alec

  53. Candee Foo says:

    Hi Alec,

    I wanna ask, if I wanna book 2 tickets to Ruifang via the TRA Tze Chiang Limited Express Train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang, are we guaranteed two seats for sure?

    Because I read online (here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwan_Railways_Administration under service) that Tzu-Chiang Limited Express (自強號) is the fastest (and most expensive) service, stopping at a few stations. Its uses assigned seating while on-reserved (standing) tickets are also sold at full price.

    But I read your post above that it comes with reserved seats. So I am a bit confused. I can’t try booking yet because my trip to Shifen/Houtong and Jiufen are on 13th and 15th Dec. 2015. I don’t think I want to go to Taipei Ticketing Counter to buy as it may be too rushed already.

    Please kindly advise. Thanks!

    Candee.

  54. web domain says:

    Hi Alec. Is bringing the passport really necessary to claim the tickets? I read in the instructions that they’ll just need your ID number etc. The reason I asked is because when I was trying to book I needed 8 tickets but limit was 6. Apparently, first transaction reserved the seats and I couldn’t use my passport number anymore since 6 is the limit. Trains to Taroko gets sold out fast so I had no choice but to interchange 2 numbers ot my passport and it worked. My only worry now is if they will be too strict during claiming since it won’t match my passport now. Although in the ticket, they blocked out the numbers (ex.AB12XXX56) for security purpose and the Xs actually replaced the incorrect numbers so they don’t even show. The booking form now matches my passport. Hope it works. Maybe I can just explain. I read you mentioned several times that passport number should be accurate. Pls let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  55. web domain says:

    Is it required to book tickets online for the trains?

  56. Dear Alec, you are a hero. Thank you!

  57. Thank you so much for this post! I had a very hard time getting it to work because I was using IE 10 – note to anyone else out there. The online payment wouldn’t open so I had to open the bank link manually on my iPhone in Safari which worked great!

  58. Bubbles says:

    Hi Alec,
    I’m traveling with my 10 year old child. Is her ticket fare falls under the CHILD category? Thank you!

  59. Els says:

    Hey Alec,

    This blog is really helpful!
    I just see that i forgot to push this button ‘complete ticket purchase by credit card’ .
    But when i go to ‘ Payment records query’ I see that my booking is there. So I guess that’s ok?
    I really can’t figure out, can you only pick our online tickets up in a tra station counter or also in a 7/11 shop ?
    Today i’ ve tried the book another train but then it says ‘ Booking Fail! Ticket bookings exceed daily limit’ . Does it mean it’s fully booked or can i try again tomorrow?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Els

  60. Els says:

    Me again,
    now i see you can anly book max 6 tickets a day. That’s why i exceed my daily limit. I just wanted to see if there was space on the train, so each time a get a booking code. Hope that’s not a bad thing.
    But when i get this message Booking Fail! There are no seats remaining in selected interval (or insufficient seats)
    Than that train is fully booked. Then i’ ve the book another hour.
    I doesn’t matter then that i make another new booking code?
    Thanks!

  61. Kel says:

    Hi Alec,

    Can i just check is it cheaper to buy HSR tickets online or at the counter? Thanks

  62. XM says:

    Hi Alec,

    May i know for Tze-Chiang Limited Express, are the seats designated or free seating? Also, where do we put the luggage? I’m travelling with children – is it hard to comfortable travelling by the train?

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